Sommerfeld Mennonite Church (La Crete, Alberta, Canada)
Sommerfelder Mennonites held their first services in the La Crete area in 1959. The Sommerfeld Mennonite Church in La Crete, Alberta, was formally organized in 1964 with 11 families when Bishop David Wall from Swift Current, who had been ordained as Bishop at Rosenhof, Saskatchewan (near Swift Current) in 1935, and minister Jacob S. Kroeker, also ordained at Rosenhof, relocated to La Crete. Minister John C. Schlamp, ordained at Vanderhoof, British Columbia, had moved with his family to Swift Current before also relocating to La Crete in 1965. The first services were held on Schlamp's farm. In a short period of time, the Sommerfelder Mennonites began meeting with the Bergthaler congregation in their newly constructed church in Wilson Prairie.
Differences soon arose between the Bergthaler and the Sommerfelder Mennonites over matters like Sunday schools, Bible study and prayer meetings, the use of English, and the issue of the assurance of salvation. In the end the two groups agreed that those with the Sommerfelder background would take possession of the church building, while those with the Bergthaler background would retain the church records, the treasury, and the name. The Bergthaler Mennonites then formed the La Crete Bergthaler Mennonite Church. To better serve those Sommerfelder families that lived in the Blumenort area, the building from John Schlamp's farm that served as the original meeting place for the church was relocated to the Blumenort area so that services could be held there as well as in Wilson Prairie. A new church building was constructed at Wilson Prairie in 1970 and the old church was moved to Blumenort. It served the families in Blumenort until 1982 when a new church building was constructed. In 1986 a church was built at Tompkins Landing, and in 1995 a new church building was constructed at Wilson Prairie. Services were also held in a senior citizens home built by the church in La Crete in 1978.
Minister Jacob S. Kroeker was elected and ordained as bishop in 1968 and served the Sommerfeld Church until his heart attack and passing on 31 October 1978. Bishop David Wall had passed away in February 1976. Ministers who served the church included Abraham I. Dyck from Vanderhoof, who joined the Sommerfeld church in 1974, Claas Peters, who passed away in February 1977, Henry Froese from Rosenhof, Saskatchewan, who joined the church in 1975 and passed away in August 1996, Henry Kroeker and John H. Buhler, both elected and ordained in 1980, Peter Wieler and David Enns, elected in January 1988, John B. Neufeld and Nick Boelig, elected in 1991, and Henry H. Wiens from Carrot River, Saskatchewan, who joined the church in 1998. Henry Kroeker was ordained as Bishop of the Sommerfeld Church in September 1981.
In 1974, ten years after the church was organized, the church had grown to 202 families (353 baptized members and 848 persons in total). On 1 January 2003 the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church in La Crete had congregations in Blumenort, Wilson Prairie, and Tompkins Landing, and had a total membership of 1,083 baptized members. Including adherents, the total population of the church was 2,450. In 2010 Heinrich Kroeker served as elder of the church, and congregations were located in La Crete / Wilson Prairie, Tompkins Landing / Blue Hills, Buffalo Head Prairie, and Blumenort.
Bergen, Peter. History of the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church : That is the Background and First Hundred Years of the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church. Altona, MB: The Church, 2001: 213.
Doell, Leonard. "Conferences of Bergthaler, Chortitzer and Sommerfelder Mennonite Churches, 1952-1957." Mennonite Historian XIII, no. 3 (September 1987): 1-2.
Gutsche, Horst W. "Verzeichnis deutschsprachiger Gemeinden und Seelsorger in Kanada." March 2010. Web. 23 February 2012. http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/cms-filesystem-action/pdfs/german-cdn/101217-1.pdf.
Loewen, Robert. "La Crete Old Colony Mennonite Church." Old Colony Mennonites in Canada: 1875 to 2000, edited by Delbert F. Plett. Steinbach, MB: Crossway Publications, 2001: 156-158.
Reimer, Margaret L. One Quilt, Many Pieces. Waterloo, ON: Mennonite Publishing Service, 1983: 42, 37.
Thiessen, Tena. "Chronology of the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church in La Crete." Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter, Second Series VI, No. 1 (May 2003): 6-7.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Thiessen, Richard D. "Sommerfeld Mennonite Church (La Crete, Alberta, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2012. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S662.html.
APA style: Thiessen, Richard D. (February 2012). Sommerfeld Mennonite Church (La Crete, Alberta, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S662.html.